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Hiking The Lands End Trail in San Francisco - A Photo Tour

Updated on November 1, 2011

Lands End Trail is one of the most amazing places to visit in San Francisco. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful piece of nature exists in such a big city. It is definitely a great place to escape from all the hustle and bustle near downtown. For its runner friendly environment, Lands End Trail was featured in my hub The Five Best Places to Run In San Francisco. Run, walk, or relax, it is an amazing place to visit with remarkable scenery. This article features some of the remarkable sights along Lands End Trail with the photographs telling the story. All the photographs were taken by my wife and me during a recent walk along the trail at sunset. We were lucky enough to be there on a perfectly clear night.

This photograph shows the Lands End Trail beginning. There is a map with information at the start of the trail with details on the various things to look for. There is a parking lot just above the Cliff House at the start of the trail. The Parks Conservancy website has many details such as a map, driving directions, and a satellite view. The site also provides tips for visitors with specific historical recommendations such as shipwrecks. There is some history also explained on the site.

The tree line is quite spectacular along the cliffs overlooking the beach. There are short offshoots from the main trail where one can catch a better glimpse of the ocean below. The remnants of the old Sutro Baths are also visible from here. Maintenance and revitalization are ongoing to maintain the scenery and accessibility. Currently there is building construction occurring which will house exhibits, retail items, and a cafe.

Along the trail you will catch one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. This view is seen along almost the entire hike. As sun sets, the bridge lights up and looks unbelievable. It's definitely worth the wait for sunset but be cautious as the trail is unlit. Along the cliff, a trail descends to the clothing optional Baker Beach. This is a great place to get an even closer look at the Golden Gate Bridge. There is parking here with restrooms and grills available.

There is trail off the main path toward the coast to Mile Rock beach with some amazing views. The sand is accessible and it is a great place to watch the sunset. There is also a great outlook with the Golden Gate Bridge to the North and the Pacific Ocean to the South.

After descending the staircase to Mile Rock Beach, a small pathway to the right reveals an outlook with a Labyrinth. The Labyrinth is consistently maintained and is a great place for relaxation and meditation. The views are great and this area does not get overly crowded with sightseers.


The sunset at Lands End Trail is spectacular on a clear day. Those in San Francisco should have a short walk along this trail, especially when the weather is great. The total distance is just over 3 miles and is dog friendly. Don't forget your cemera!


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    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

      Beautiful photos. That labyrinth looks like an swesome spot. Well done and thanks for sharing!

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

      Great photos!

    • Matt Stark profile image

      Matt Stark 6 years ago from Albany, CA

      randomcreative - Thanks! I'm glad you like the photos.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

    • teikounosenshi profile image

      teikounosenshi 6 years ago from Nevada

      Then again, mom wouldn't survive the hike these days and no boyfriend of mine would keep up with me! Last time I went hiking with a boyfriend, he was a good 20 minutes behind me huffing and puffing all the way. Maybe someday, I'll just hike this one alone - I love meditating.

    • Matt Stark profile image

      Matt Stark 6 years ago from Albany, CA

      Topnewhottoys - Thanks! The trail really is beautiful.

      teikounosenshi - Haha, yes. This place is pretty innocent.

    • teikounosenshi profile image

      teikounosenshi 6 years ago from Nevada

      Finally! A place in SF my parents CAN'T tell me stories about!

    • Topnewhottoys profile image

      Topnewhottoys 6 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland

      gorgeous photos - now that's a trail I want to see

    • Matt Stark profile image

      Matt Stark 6 years ago from Albany, CA

      Thanks Duchess. Sometimes photos can tell a better story than words can.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

      What a wonderful way to share your experience. Beautifully captured.

    • Matt Stark profile image

      Matt Stark 6 years ago from Albany, CA

      Thanks ktrapp. It is one of my favorite places in San Francisco. The photos certainly do evoke emotion, but being there is an experience photos can't do justice. Thanks for the nice words. I hope you can visit one day.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      Matt, These are such gorgeous photos. I love the hazy quality, especially in the Golden Gate photo and the one that follows, with the rocky shore in the foreground. They all evoke a lot of emotion. If I ever have the pleasure of visiting San Francisco I would love to take a 3 mile walk at Land's End park. Thanks for sharing these photos that most definitely tell a story. ~voting up and beautiful~